It’s that time of year again (even if it’s still 90 degrees outside). Pumpkin season! In particular the ever so popular pumpkin spice season whether it be a latte, bread, creamers, cookies, cake, donut’s you name it, it seems we literally go crazy for it. However, most of these products are filled with TONS of sugar, artificial flavors, and don’t have an ounce of actual pumpkin in them.
The effects of sugar on the body have been proven to be detrimental not only to weight but our internal health. Sugar has been proven to raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation. Sugar has also been linked to an increase in heart disease based on a consistent intake. Our gut is our second brain, so we are what we eat. When we eat sugar it has been proven to alter our mood, thinking, and brain processing. Sugar is no longer a natural substance like it once was; today it is a hyper processed product, meaning you have no idea what you are actually getting. We too often turn to sugar substitutes today that are also extremely processed and unnatural, which have very questionable effects on our bodies. All of these substances have been known to cause more inflammation in the body. Over time and with consistent consumption our bodies are in a constant state of inflammation and disease and illness begins to occur. Processed foods and sugar can actually decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance is what creates the insatiable sugar craving which can lead to more damage to your gut and digestive system. Once your microbiome is thrown out of balance your bodily system is weakened, your brain operations are impaired and your body is unable to process food at a optimal digestive rate leading to numerous issues as well as weight gain.
Then you have to think about the “natural flavors” thrown into these products, the syrups, the pumpkin “flavoring” etc. These are all processed and further confuse your body causing digestive issues, allergic reactions, bloating, inflammation, and throws off the natural equilibrium of the body. If it’s made in a test tube let’s NOT put it in our bodies.
So can we have our ever so loved pumpkin spice latte and drink it too? YES. By skipping the drive through and throwing your own together can save you the headache of waiting in line to get your fix and your health. My adaptogenic pumpkin spice latte will give you a little more of a healthy boost with the enjoyment of your pumpkin fix. It is also an extra boost during the beginning of this cold/flu season. In Ayurveda we are also moving into Vata season. Vata is air and rules fall into early winter. When we switch from one season to another our bodies are often left confused and we can experience rough dry skin, colds, allergies, depression, and more. My pumpkin spice latte helps us to embody this season and balance our bodies during the transition from summer into fall.
What’s in it?
Anise (starseed): Anise actually HELPS our digestive tract by decreasing inflammation and bloating. It is an expectorant, ,antiseptic, and antispasmodic which can help with treating cough, asthma, and bronchitis. It is rich in iron which aids in healthy blood. Anise has also been seen to reduce symptoms of depression, prevents bacterial growth, fungus, and indigestion. Anise actually helps to balance blood sugar levels and is also really good for your teeth and prevention of cavities.
Fenugreek: Fenugreek tastes like maple syrup and gives you a huge boost without all the sugar. It helps balance cholesterol, soothe upset stomach and digestive inflammation, reduces menstrual cramps, reduces fat mass, maintains healthy liver and kidney function, and soothes muscle pain and boost muscle recovery. Fenugreek is also AMAZING for hair growth as well as increasing libido.
Cardamom: Cardamom contains tons of antioxidants and has been found to have cancer-fighting compounds. It helps prevent chronic disease and inflammatory disorders. Cardamom also aids in ulcer prevention and healing the digestive tract. It helps prevent bad breathe and cavities as well. It has antibacterial effects and treats viral infections. It contains certain nutrients such as melatonin that helps the body burn calories while managing fat and weight effectively aiding in weight loss. It helps the liver process amino acids to fully provide necessary protein to our bodies. (Read all about protein and amino acids here) Cardamom also reduces and prevents the onset of anxiety.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a great anti-bacterial and helps with all different variations of inflammation in the body. It is also a great cure for seasonal allergies that seem to creep up on us at this time with the changing of the seasons. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic, helps relieve cough, treats depression, detoxify’s the liver, and even boosts the metabolism.
Black pepper: just a small sprinkle of black pepper helps activate turmeric so that we can fully digest it and receive all of the benefits of it. It helps activate turmeric’s digestive properties, cancer fighting forces, anti-inflammatory properties, and metabolism boost.
Ginger: Ginger is a natural antibiotic, stomach smoother, helps heal the GI tract and regulate appetite, helps in the absorption of nutrients, improves blood flow, naturally treats colds and the flu, aids in respiratory health, and supports ovarian health.
Cloves: Cloves inhibits the rapid growth of cancer cells, aids in hair growth, heals acne and skin inflammation, aids in healing respiratory illnesses and is a natural cough suppressant.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg helps prevent the onset of depression and anxiety, aids in brain health, regulates blood pressure, helps regulate sleep cycles, treats acne and skin inflammation, reduces cavities and plague, regulates digestion, and increases the bodies natural detoxification process.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is LOADED with zinc. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps our system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Our bodies require zinc to make proteins and DNA, which aids in cellular health. Zinc helps boost our immunity and prevents illness. Pumpkin also contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which is great for skin. AHA helps boost collagen production for healthy hair, skin, nails, and bones. AHA also promotes healthy blood flow to the skin, helps minimize skin discoloration and scaring, brightens the skin, and increases digestive absorption. Pumpkin is also loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are essential for fighting off illness. This boosts our immune system and our cellular health, this helps us rejuvenate damage cells at an increase rate and protects us from illness, allergies, the flu, and colds.
Raw Local Organic Honey: Honey is helpful to us in small doses. It is a anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, helps suppress cough, promotes digestive health, and a local honey helps introduce a healthy amount of the natural allergens/pollens from our area into our bodies to help our bodies adjust and become immune.
Adaptogenic Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe:
1 tablespoon organic pumpkin 1
1/4 cup milk of choice ( I used homemade coconut milk)
1 cup water
a sprinkle of grated Ginger
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of Anise
Cloves to preferred taste
Nutmeg to preferred taste
1 teaspoon Fenugreek
1 teaspoon Cardamom
1 tablespoon Raw organic honey or PURE Monk Fruit powder (WITH NO ERTHYRITOL)
Heat 1 cup water with Anise to create a tea
In blender add organic pumpkin, milk, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, fenugreek, cardamom, and sweetener.
Blend until combined.
** If you’re looking for that caffeine boost add 1 teaspoon cacao for added energy. Read all about the energetics of caffeine and the benefits of cacao here.
Grab a blanket, curl up on the couch, turn on Hocus Pocus, and sip away -or- pour it over ice while you pretend the whether is cooler, the leaves are falling, and it's not 80 degrees outside.